There's a saying that feeding a dog raw meat or blood will make him mean,
and while it's true that giving a dog anything he really likes may make him posessive,
feeding your dog raw meat will not change his personality. The idea that dogs
become bloodthirsty when given raw meat is actually rooted in sound observation -
wolves, coyotes, wild dogs, and other canine cousins are natural hunters and scavengers,
and will hunt prey and defend kills in order to survive.
Posessive growling is not the same as a dog becoming "crazy" or bloodthirsty, and
the idea that dogs would suddenly become a killer after being given raw meat is
a complete myth. Dogs are no more affected by eating raw meat than we are eating
a nice burger - except it's much healthier for them! In fact, raw meat is what
generations of dogs ate before commercial kibble was invented, and they did just
Fresh, raw, meat and blood contains many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients essential
for a healthy body. If your dog growls or becomes overly posessive of his food,
it's a good idea to practice obedience training exercises like sit & stay
before meals. Putting food down while your dog is in a sit-stay encourages him
to be calm about his meals and not overly posessive. Feeding smaller meals more
frequently gives you more time to practice training, encouraging your dog to
build new habits around mealtimes. Instead of being tense and protective of his
food, he'll be patient and relaxed.
Similarly, feeding your dog in a private area like the outside patio, or his kennel
can make food aggression less of an issue. Simply put, if there's no reason to
bother your dog while he's eating, posessive behavior can easily be managed by
keeping your dog crated while he eats. This can also help your dog feel more
secure, and less likely to growl defensively when people pass by. For some dogs,
professional training can help reduce the tendancy to be aggressive and make
your dog overall more comfortable around meals.
What to do if your dog growls when you give him meat?
Guarding valuable things for people or other animals is normal dog behavior. In
the wild, wolves who successfully protect their resources, such as territory and
food, are more likely to survive than those who don't.
If your dog is so protective that he might bite you, you should seek the help of
a professional trainer and not try to resolve the issue on your own. Never
underestimate a stressed animals propensity to defend itself.
With that being said, if your dogs posessive behavior is fairly mild, one easy
way to discourage it is to feed your dogs meal in 5-6 portions, so that you have
to refill his bowl several times in one meal. Give your dog a tiny amount of dog
food and let him finish, then pick the bowl up and do it again until he's had
a complete meal. The idea is to encourage your dog to be OK with giving up his
bowl, and not be so concerned when someone reaches in to grab it, by doing it
Managing Posessive Behavior
If your dog growls or guards his food, make sure to manage his behavior around
guests and family members. Do not allow your dog to eat in an area where people
might disturb him. Instead, feed him in his kennel or outside and make sure you
are vocal in telling people not to bother your dog while he's eating.
With training, posessive behavior can be very successfully adjusted, but it
usually takes time to see noticable change. The ASPCA offers multiple training
tips that they describe as
as fairly complex and detailed
because each exercise is done in steps, and requires a good understanding of a dogs